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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  December 23, 2011 7:00am-9:00am EST

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>> it might not have been the smartest thing in the world politically, but i think our members waged a good fight. we were able to come to agreement and fix what came out of the senate. host: house speaker john boehner last night announcing that gop leaders have decided on a deal. the two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday and other provisions.
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unanimous consent is the plan today in the house of representatives. good morning, it's friday, december 23, decemb2011. thanks for being with us. continuing violence in baghdad. and a report on u.s. and pakistan on culpability in the killings earlier this year on the border. we will focus this morning on domestic politics with the gop and the house agreeing to a two- month agreement on the payroll tax cut. we want to see how it looks to you watching from around the country. the numbers on your screen. the house agrees to a deal on the payroll tax extension. good friday morning to you. before we get to that, let me get on the record for the
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morning newspaper reports on international stories. a photograph of the bombings in iraq yesterday. in baghdad, a blast rocked baghdad as a political crisis grows. dozens are killed in the city's deadliest day in more than a year. a similar story in the wall street journal. violence jolts iraq . sectarian division. also, a personal photograph on the front page of the new york times of an iraqi who rescued his brother after the attacks but killed 63 yesterday. he is awaiting word on his brother's condition. and a report on the strike at the border of pakistan and a afghanistan, two sides at fault. the u.s. said pakistan fired first.
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let me turn to the domestic story we have been watching and you have been talking about during the week. house gop's surrenders on
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payroll tax cuts. let me show you "politico's" report. jonathan allen is on the phone. leaders announced yesterday after a conference call at 5:30 last night that they were going to bring its unanimous consent vote on the house floor today for two-month extension. what can you tell us of the back story? >> the big back story is ultimately that the speaker of the house john boehner was able to get to a point where he felt comfortable that he could wave the white flag and surrendered on an issue pass that has been hurting the republican party in the court of public opinion. this is something republicans understood, the people would want to see the payroll tax-cut
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extended the, and the unemployment benefits in this time of uncertainty is something that has political popularity. political leaders in washington understood that, but rank-and- thought it wasns did no john boehner waiting for some of up.caucus to ketccatch mitch mcconnell wanted to see unanimous consent, like what will happen in the house. pain republicans felt, he wanted to see that come to an end. he said he would come outside
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and and say you wanted for the most to have a short-term extension and speak with harry reid about 01-year payroll tax cut, that disputes. >> we have been hearing the expression "kicking the can down the road" a lot this week. if they don't get unanimous agreement, a full house vote next week, but it is set to happen soon. except the stage for continuing this discussion after the holidays, because the extension is up in february and neither side is reached agreement on how to pay for this. that's right. nobody is ready to pick up a cthe can. house republicans a month ago
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paid for some offsets. senate democrats and the white house, people would have needed to provide a social security number to get the tax credit. there were a number of issues. costs senate democrats wanted to pay for the year-long fix with a surcharge on people earning more than $1 million a year. republicans at one time spoke about some benefit caps for people making more than $1 million a year in terms of what they could get out of government programs. there's a huge gulf still in between the two sides. how to pay for extending the payroll tax cut, which basically loris the tax on your paycheck.
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>> settled for now with the january 1 tax deadline and the holiday. hardly settled at all and the debate continues after the holidays, correct? >> you got it right, susan. >> thanks for starting us off this morning. i will encourage our viewers to look for "politico's coverage on this. gop caved to obama, and other pieces of politics and the back story on what went on this week and particularly as it reached a crescendo this week with the speaker's announcement. happy holidays. >> i appreciate that. host: how you feel about this and what you think.
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house democrats have been very vocal. the head of their reelection bid vows that this is a turning point that will allow democrats to take back control of the house. we posted yesterday on facebook question of whether or not a deal should be reached. we had 1040. 768 people who responded said that they should seek a deal. 272 no votes. one inkling of the sentiment about whether or not a deal should be reached this week. let's go to the phones. betty, a republican in long island. caller: good morning. thank you, c-span. first of all, what is going to happen in two months?
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when are they going to start this meeting and getting together? it's not until the middle of january, for the senators who get five weeks' vacation. we are going to start all over again with the same people arguing and fighting back and forth. i don't think this will get done. people out there that call and complain about and not getting air brakes and whatnot, -- not getting tax breaks and what not, you get what you deserve. you voted these people in. we need to start all over again because we need the help. host: connecticut, lisa, a democrat. caller: thanks for taking my call. i am extremely disappointed in the way congress handled this whole situation. the situation with december 31
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looming should never have happened. enough backbiting and arguing man acting like angry children when they don't get their way. that's enough. we the middle class need a break. we need some help from washington and we are not getting it. that's the way i feel. i am extremely disappointed in my party and the gop very much. thanks for taking my call. host: little river, south carolina, mark is a republican. caller: good morning. i am extremely disappointed in the republicans. this should of been a one-year plan. all democrats are trying to do is bankrupt social security. social security was supposed to be insurance. now it is.
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-- now it is a tax. you will get $17 more per month to pay through the tax cut. democrats say that they pay their social security tax. they're getting a 2% prepare it now the people that buy homes over $200,000 are paying for it. that's nice. thank you, democrats. host: chesapeake, virginia. deborah is a democrat. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i think people are forgetting that the president was pushing one year from the start. he probably shouldn't pushed for
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two years, actually. i think the fact that there were 39 republicans who voted for the compromise, which would not have been a compromise if they would have accepted the year in the first place. this is what the president was pushing for the past couple months. for them to come back and say we want a year now, why did you not agree to a year in the first place? all of us americans should stand up and say, no more writers on these bills -- no more rider on the bill's success the keystone pipeline. that is a ploy used by republicans to push that agenda. host: do you think only
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republican legislation add riders to legislation? the democrats do it too. i will vote for president obama. he probably should be equated to do the health care. other than that i don't have problems with him. host: donna tweets -- you probably heard in your reading of what happened yesterday the importance of several key players, including the wall street journal editorial page and mix mcconnell -- mcconnell, and karl rove all suggesting it was time for a deal to be struck. let's look at the editorial page today and see what they have to say. if it is the second editorial. a payroll tax deal.
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here is a bed of what they write --
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host: back to your phone calls. bronx, new york. sean, independent. caller: good morning. i would like to comment on the way the media reports these stories. lnot a sport. it is people's lives. look get the headlines from "politico" and the washington post. "some vendors." th medi-- "surrenders." the way they report the story is leaves a lot wanting. they need to do a better job. host: let's look at some firms used in headlines around the country. we have various newspapers around the country.
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the financial times plays it straight. atlanta journal constitution. sanding, lawmakers reached a deal. in the miami herald, see how house leaders still. in new orleans, pressure forces a deal on payroll tax cut. verb in theld pe boston globe. we wanted to get a couple of congressional voices. on the phone is representative daniel webster of florida, a freshman. he is in a highly competitive house seat, came to congress supporting the tea party. he's on the line with us. congressman, what is your reaction to the deal announced by your leadership last night?
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>> i would rather have had a year-long tax holiday. however, if my problem was with that particular portion and the pressure that it would put on businesses. most of that problem was fixed with the senate to agree to an amendment to that particular portion of the bill. it is really tough on businesses at this time of year. january and february is when they are doing their quarterly reports, reporting their taxes, but also they have to do the w-2 got all their employees in january and all the other one's in debris. a lot of reporting. if you change the circular on how the records of and collect taxes, which is what was going to happen in the senate bill, if it was going to be a nightmare. it was not workable and 6 million small businesses across the country all said that.
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that changed. they changed the worst and most egregious part of the bill which was that portion. host: especially when you are getting home and talking to people, how does this look to you? do you think that change was worth all the political reporting headaches that particular of the house gop faced this week? >> my position was all along that was the problem in the bill. i would have rathered it extend it for three months instead of two of which would have moved much of the consternation into the next quarter, which would have been much easier to handle because of the year and paperwork that businesses have to do. my own business, 50 years, three generations, we fill those forms out and it's not the easiest thing. i asked in the rules committee
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would anyone there fill out one and there were no takers. this fix is much better. host: was it worth the political pain this week? >> foresho sure. to get that concession was huge. host: there remains the largest question, how are the multiple provisions, the medicare doc fi x, a holiday extension, how are they paid for? caller: we should have done it for a year and there should be an offset for that. however, the senate also agreeing to appoint conferees right away will help, to begin discussions immediately. in doing that i think we can
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come to a conclusion. they had their way that they wanted to pay for it. and we had our way that we wanted to pay for the extension and if the two-year for the doc fix. host: how optimistic are you that a deal can be reached? caller: hours would pay for two years in the doc fix and the extension of the tax holiday would have lasted a full year. if they want to have a full year, they have to come up with a way to pay for it. host: thanks for giving us your time. we're starting to read and analysis piece about something of a real challenge for done banner speakership.
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guest: he is in a difficult place. we control onea majority. we have sent many proposals down to the senate and nothing happens. all of a sudden they act on one. he has done an admirable job given the current situation of the senate, who barely response to what the house does, really takes a position on an issue. they did have an amendment to one of our bills, but that was about it. it makes it hard. these are things that are difficult. he's doing a great job in balancing what he has to do. host: a couple weeks and fomite
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change perspective, but can you give us a sense of what the discussion is like inside the gop freshman class, your special group of members? what is the majority opinion there? guest: great question. i don't know. the discussion is ongoing. however, it is not like we are calling each other every day. for the most part people have felt this is the best we could do with what we have appeared that was one of the e-mails i saw last night. as far as the overall class, everybody has been disappointed. i would assume the president's and the senate are disappointed because they will have to build a pipeline they did not want to build and jobs. the same for us. we will not get a year-long tax holiday that we were hoping for.
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host: thanks very much for giving us your views on the deal reached last night and announced in washington. next is a call from west virginia. gerald is a republican. good morning. caller: what i think is that the freshman congressman in the house did the right thing -- congressmen. what is happening right now is senate democrats are running interference for president obama that does not want to build the keystone xl pipeline. that is what they ought to be focusing on. it think the senate republicans helped to do that. why he wants to wait until
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after the election to make a decision on that is he does not want to build it. if he says it now, he will not get elected. they are running interference for him so he does not have to make a decision before the election. host: thank you, gerald. after the announcement, the majority leader nancy pelosi sent this comment from office. is a victoryement for the american people. they spoke out clearly and the $40 each paycheck will make a difference." another person says it amounts to a christmas gift for president obama -- we heard from mr. webster that the changes in the agreement
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were very important in his negotiations on this. this article in the wall street journal, a temporary extension divides economists on whether it will spur spending and hiring. it is a back and forth about the effect of whether it will create jobs and add stimulus to the economy. next is north carolina, a democrat. caller: thanks for taking my call. i want to say thank you, republicans, for doing the right thing. so many people out here are really hurting. alan,t to say to joe and you are -- of the american party. host: this paper says the annual scramble to passed the medicare problem --
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next is congressman sander levin of michigan. he has been very visible this week on the democratic side involved in negotiations. what is your reaction to the republican announcement last night? guest: it was necessary. we had to extend this program. house republicans had stood in the way and they got out of the way yesterday. that was important for extending the payroll tax for 160 million taxpayers and extending unemployment compensation,
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unemployment insurance for more than 2 million people who live lost id beginning january 1, and the tax fix. host: i read that you conceded that the two? -- two-month nature could make it challenging for small businesses. did you agree with republicans on that? guest: no. the irs always said that it was workable, it was not easy, but workable. the chains that was made is basically a technical change -- the change that was made. people who calculated fica, they will have to make one calculation instead of two. what there will be is a pavement through the tax people
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pay at the end of the year. so it was a change and it is ok. -- there will be a payment through the tax people pay a the end of the year. host: the annual nature of the doc fix in congress over the past years, do you believe a larger medicare overhaul is necessary? is that on the docket in the upcoming election year? guest: we have to change the basic fee for service system we have, where there is too much emphasis on the number of statements instead of how they are paid. a fee for service system which says essentially for every procedure there would be pavement. instead we need to find ways to change that. i know from our own experience.
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the way to do it is through the medicare system, including by bundling of statements so you don't pay for every specific procedure or treatment by everybody who dissipates. you essentially pay for the result and you pay for the bundling of procedures. that reform needs to occur and tru-- through the medicare syst. we have provided steps in that direction through the house reform bill and we need to implement them and go even further. that is the main way to get this too high -- to gather at this -- get at this too high increase in health care insurance. host: do you think the two
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parties and two houses of congress will be any closer to a solution? guest: it's going to be difficult. if you look at the bill that passed the house, the republican bill, they made some major changes. by the way, they cut and unemployment insurance by 40 weeks. in michigan the maximum number of weeks would have become 46 weeks. they cut the federal unemployment insurance program by 4 weeks. that was much too drastic. what we need to do is look at all the offsets. that is not going to be easy. we have some hard negotiating to do. my hope is that the republicans will be more open, more flexible. the problem we face in the house this year, led by tea party
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members, they had this absolutely fixed view and there were not going to change regardless. it took us to the brink of losing extension a payroll tax cuts. we would have lost the federal unemployment insurance program for over 1 million people in just a month and the doc fix would have been out in orbit. host: a respite for the congress and political debates and for the people affected by the policies. we will pick it all again in january. guest: we have some hard issues to resolve. we need to extend this for one year. the payroll tax as well as unemployment insurance and the doc fix for at least one year. we always felt that way. off on the wrong step,
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the house republican proposal that was really drastic. now we need to go back. i hope we can sit down and extend it pour the rest of the year, but there will have to be willingness to sit down and exchange ideas and not have people simply say it is my way or the highway. it turns out the highway of the house republicans was a cliff. we've just avoided going over the cliff at the last minute. we should not do that again. host: he is the top democrat on the ways and means committee. thanks for joining us. we have a few more minutes left for your phone calls and more stories. this tweet from a freshman gop member of the house. next is a phone call from its rockville, indiana. kim is a democrat.
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caller: reverend al sharpton needs to do an inventory of his blueberry pies. the republicans showed yesterday that the republican party is the party of the rich. host: thanks for that call from indiana. here's one of those stories in reference to the leadership style of the speaker.
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next is a call from san diego. good morning, andy, republican. caller: i totally disagree on the tax cuts. i wonder what happens to a country that owns $15.50 trillion and nobody will raise taxes? and a country that has unfunded liability $62 trillion and wants a payroll tax cuts? our credit rating is going to get low again because we are not serious about paying our debts. thank you. host: mary on twitter rights this -- writes this --
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next is a call from new york. good morning, john, independent. caller: good morning, c-span. who wants think, what everyone is talking about it is merely band-aids. the taxing and spending is not what is going to get us out of this thing. we need high-paying jobs. that is the whole problem. you have people calling and saying 50% of the people don't pay taxes. if you are making under $35,000 per year and have a family, you cannot pay taxes. if you make these people start paying taxes, they are going to be on more medicaid and food stamps and stuff. that is what is going on now. these people are not making a proper wage. if they cannot buy anything. the economy run by 70% of what we consume.
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people don't understand this. if you need people to make money to spend money. the only ones that i see on c- span, you had a mental bomb and friedman -- mendelbaun and friedman talking about education and infrastructure. these are things we have to work on. if we don't make an economic move against the rest of the world, we will fall farther and farther behind. this is competition. we have to compete with china and india. we cannot sit here and it's tax- and-spend. but people are falling for it, even the media and people calling. if it's not going to work. we have to make changes. it will last like this for decades. host: from the new york times --
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below that is another story. seven states will get a share of almost $200 million in education grants after missing out last year. the white house's raced to the top program. it's a competition. illinois received 42.8 million. 37 million for new jersey. next is a call from cleveland. johnnie mae, a democrat.
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caller: >> good morning. we are not talking about why we got two months instead of a year. it was because the republicans at first did not even want to give us tax relief. and then decided they would loaded up with a lot of bargains. they wanted to layoff to hundred thousand federal workers. and then they wanted seniors to pay more for their medicare. and the doc fix. they wanted drug testing. they wanted a ged test before you get unemployment. a lot of nonsense. but republicans in the past have always sex tax breaks pay for themselves because they stimulate the economy. to givewhen it's time the working poor, they are
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stepping on their message. -- republicans in the past have always said tax breaks pay for themselves. we would also lose a point of gdp. the tax breaks are not equal. these people getting the tax relief would yolose the money. we would lose 400,000 jobs without the tax breaks. these people will spend it on gas and food and things like that. the billionaires' are not spending that money. or doingsitting on ait business to build up their middle class. on twitter has this view -- president obama released a
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statement. this is part of what the accur -- what he said after the deal was reached. the president will be leaving for a holiday in hawaii. there is an on-camera statement press conference scheduled by senate majority leader harry reid at 9:30 eastern time. we will be there. baton rouge, louisiana, lee, republican. caller: good morning. all these people that think they really got a break on this payroll tax thing better hang on to their habits, because -- hang on to their hats, because
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the democrats that want to help the middle class, how they are planning on paying for this is to have a fee on your mortgage pavement. s-- paymnet -- payment. they are really it's going to help you. you better hope they get that out of the two-month deal or it will be permanent. in other words, that is why they wanted that two months, so they could get this fee on the mortgage from fannie mae and freddie mac. if these people to think that the democrats are really not for when they'd better look they go to pay that fee on their
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mortgage. host: we heard that ms. mcconnell's call to the speaker and his subsequent public announcement yesterday encouraging the two-month extension was a pivotal moment. mcconnell also tweeted after the deal was announced. here's what he said -- next is sarasota, florida. rover, a democrat. caller: good morning. i have a unique opportunity living in sarasota to observe the two very different realities. the reality of the mainland and the reality of the barrier islands. while the powers that be tossed a working-class opponent -- a bone, the wealthy and their
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savings they have been getting from the bush tax cuts over the last decade have enabled them not just to buy perhaps a used then- year-old toyota corolla for their daughter or son to go to college but a brand new bentley. the wealthy people are the barrier islands. ponds.ave spent these mansions are kept immaculate and fully stocked with everything and they may only visit them once a year. the inadequacy is just amazing here. i voted for president obama. i had great hopes. a lot of people did. i am very disappointed.
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as far as president obama, i will probably vote for him again because it's going to oil down to the lesser of two evils. if he all had a spine -- only had a spine. host: a bank official in europe said the outlook is darkening.
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that is his outlook this morning from europe. this is the season for all sorts of lifts. this paper gave its person of the year to anthony weiner. a gorgeous power wife. twitter was part of their reason for selecting him as a person of the year. there's a press conference starting at 9:45 eastern time. we will wrap this up and take a break. we'll talk about what's coming up for the rest of the program. whener andter
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we'll continue our discussion about politics and presidential election and his conservative point of view. if later on we will have the assistant secretary of state rose got smaller who will be talking about the "start" treaty anniversary and arms control and concerns about iran and north korea. if we will wrap it up as we always do on friday with america by the numbers. members from the census bureau, what is happening with child care and how working americans are caring for their young children. we will be right back. >> with the iowa caucuses and new hampshire primary next month, the contenders clicks
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back at 14 men who ran for president and lost but had a long-lasting impact on american politics. charles evans hughes, chief justice of the united states, tonight. if and on saturday, a three-time governor of new york, al smith. every night at 10:00 eastern on c-span. this holiday weekend, three days of "book tv." here are the prime-time programs. the failed coup the letter to gorbachev's resignation, saturday at 10:00 eastern. and revisiting the americas in the year after christopher columbus arrived, at 11:45. and teddy roosevelt, sunday. and best sellers of 2011, monday and 7:00 p.m. and tom brokaw on monday at 8:30
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p.m. eastern. the full schedule is on line. >> i am arguing on higher taxes on the wealthy and i am one of them. >> i am very philanthropic. >> i have the donation page. you can put in your credit card and donates. if >> that is not going to help anybody. >> you don't want to donate to the government? >> you are being silly. >> i am a video journalist. what we are doing is almost like citizen journalism, which is basically when the individual who does not have that much training in journalism has the tools of modern technology to capture a live event but does not have a background in
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journalism. >> she shares her experiences on reporting on issues for the daily caller, a 24 hour news website, sunday night on c-span. >> washington journal continues. host: our first guest on this friday, december 23, a senior fellow at the ethics and public policy center a in washington, a regular blogger on all things political and social. what i will start with this morning, there's a new gallup poll on public satisfaction with the way things are going. here's a start. 15% only say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the united states. let's look at this year over year.
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1979 all the way through 2009. here's the current number. it dipped in 2008 after the financial crisis, below 15. we have been trending down since 2001 60% of americans were satisfied. let's turn to the lead editorial in "usa today." "what is there to cheer?" they say the world is getting more peaceful, troops are coming home, america is importing less oil -- what do you think is going right in the country right now? guest: social indicators have gotten better for about a decade and a half. right around the mid-1990s if you look at the social indicators everything got worse
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prior from the 1960's. drug use and so forth. a whole series of indicators got better and most of them got much better around the mid-1990s and that has continued. droppedre welfare rates have and abortions have gone down. cheer andarea of good optimism. but the economy is very fragile right now. the public is concerned. they have reasons to be concerned. as far as the editorial, the world being more peaceful, in some places yes and other places no. 18 bombings in baghdad in the last 24 hours. that is an area that concerns me allot. iran is racing towards getting nuclear weapons. it is a mixed bag.
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always is. the public makes judgments of where things are versus what they are used to and what they expect. the gallup poll is quite concerned for the president, because 1979, this is the second worst year. 2008 was the worst. 70%. we had 60% satisfaction, 1986, 98, and 2000. -- 1998, and 2000. do you see an overwhelming effect? guest: congress has the lowest
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rating ever. host: 9% right now. guest: their view towards the political class is very negative in general. it hurts the president's most because the president is captain of the ship. people believe he should be able to control things going on. sometimes that is fair and sometimes it is not. there's not a republican, not a specific republican who is going to help, some feel. if you go through the political metrics, he is clearly the underdog right now. this is a race for the republicans to lose. they have a lot of advantages going into the election. host: a good week for the democrats and republicans this
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week. guest: the payroll tax resolution was good for the republican party. host: how how did they get to where they ended up? guest: good question. it was viewed that the republicans and primarily the house was opposed to an extension of the middle-class tax cut. the public viewed that as a middle-class tax. the house wanted to extend payroll tax cut deal for one year because they felt the two months was too short. they pushed the legislation sooner than the senate. the house was first, but the democrats did a very good job framing the issue as the republicans in the house being obstructionist. speaker john boehner and senator mcconnell in the senate or at
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odds. the senate passed the two-month extension. john boehner thought that the house would do the same. then they opposed it. that went on a few days. it was tremendous pressure against republicans and now they have caved. guest: the crux of the argument was how this would be paid for. host: the crux of the argument was how this would be paid for. framedthe way it's got is republicans were against a tax cut for the middle class. and president obama was framed as a leader on getting tax cuts. host: we will go to the phones. we welcome your participation in
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our discussion. we will look at some gop presidential candidates if as they get closer to the iowa caucus and get our guests's take on the public response to that. you can also tweet and e-mail us. there is an analysis of state voter registration and showing more than 2.5 million voters have left the democratic and republican parties since the 2008 elections --
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implicationse the for the two parties? guest: there's a tremendous amount of cynicism with political parties in general. it is interesting because the public complains about stalemate and about things not getting done. but that is a product of the public's own view and votes. they voted democratic and the president got pretty much everything he wanted in those two years and that created an enormous amount of dissatisfaction with the public. then the 2010 elections, republicans controlled the house. that inevitably lead to a stalemate. that is essentially what the public said they wanted. now that they have a stalemate, they look at the house and senate and president and say why can't these people agree on things?
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there is plenty to blame congress about and often partisan politics gets in the way of the public interest. host: he has spent a good deal of time in this city in official positions helping to strategize on policy. led me tell you a bit about his background. he was a speechwriter in the reagan administration and the department of education. the bush boarded one administration, special assistant to the director of policy. and an organization jack kemp was very involved in. deputy assistant to the president and worked under
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president george bush. which of them influenced your thinking? you guest: that's a great question. reagan and bush in different ways. host: bush 43? guest: president reagan, i was a young man when he won the presidency, and there's a whole generations of conservatives that became conservatives in large part because of president reagan. and i think he was a monumental figure in american politics, not only a successful president, but a person who really embodied conservatism and was, at his core, a person who believed in a political philosophy. often that doesn't happen with politicians or presidents. and the way he conducted himself, he was a man of tremendous principle and strength, but he was a deeply decent and civilized man.
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he very rarely got angry at people. his rhetoric was always careful. he was a kilingds -- he was a kind of model to many of us. he's grown in the imagination of the public, including democrats, who now cite him favorably all the time. that was not the case when he was president. president bush, i was closer to because i worked in the white house. and he was a man of tremendous personal integrity, and i think probably the greatest political courage that i ever witnessed in my time in government was president bush during the service in iraq. it was tremendously unpopular, the war was. the number of people who supported the surge in 2006 you could fit in a phone booth, virtually. the senate majority leader came into the house to have a one-on-one with the president and said you've got to withdraw from iraq otherwise you're going cost the republicans the mid-term election, and the president said no way and essentially showed him the
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door. the surge succeeded. people forget now, but there were gale-force political winds against president bush, and he held firm, so i'd say those two. host: we're going to get calls and then mix in more discussion about the g.o.p. candidates as we go along here. maryland, george, independent, you're on the air. caller: hello. host: how long have you been an independent? caller: around seven years. host: why did you make the decision? were you a member of a party earlier? caller: i started off as a democrat, got tired of the corruption amongst the local political circles, became a republican, found out through rough experience it was a closed club, just as capable of being corrupt as the democrats. i've been independent ever since. host: so, as an independent, how could you -- why do you stay involved in the political process? you've had some bad experiences on both sides.
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caller: well, the political process is a part where we can pressure for the country to go in the right direction. i was wondering whether your guest would care to talk about the ethics of a nation that has two million people being locked up in jail every night, a nation that has about half of its population, low income or in poverty, a nation where, you know, the dropout rates in urban high schools are 50% and greater, where there's a declining lack of social mobility where we can have the most expensive and sometimes most profitable healthcare system. and yet, on a ranking scale, we have number 37 in results. if ethics and public policy mean anything, how can the average person hope that our political class can make things
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happen for the average person and their quality of life, the life expect at this, and their ability to feel that their children have a chance even in a competitive economy, be treated fairly. host: thank you, george. let's stop it there and get a response. guest: that's a good question. let me try to take them in order. in terms of the issues you raise, the two million people in prison and the ethics of that, of course, the ethics depends on whether the people committed crimes f. they committed crimes, they should be in prison. we talked earlier about rates going down. one large reason they've gone down is we've been locking up bad guys. the other issue is poverty. i'd simply point out that poverty is now at a record level. it is a great problem, happened under a democratic president. and healthcare and the dropout rates, all those are serious problems, and they're all amenable to public policy solutions. of course, what politics is about is people with different views and policies arguing and
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debating and implementing policies and measuring which ones work and which ones don't. welfare is a great example. we had record welfare roles, the number of people on the welfare roles in the mid 1990's, the republicans pushed the welfare reform bill that president clinton signed on the third effort, and welfare roles dropped by 60%. the condition of the poor got better in almost every -- one of the great social achievements of the last half century. i want to also still make a larger point that the caller raised, which is a sense toward the political class and the corruption. this is of both parties. corruption is part of the human condition, and it's not isolated to politicians. i understand the frustration with politicians and the political system. i have my own. but there are a lot of good and admirable people in washington
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and in public life. most people involved in politics are involved for the right reasons, which is to have certain views of what would advance the human good. now it gets mixed into politics and partisan politics because all human motivations are mixed. none of our hearts are pure. the i think not enough people understand that. the last thing i'll say is that the founder themselves set up a political system which put a premium on stalemate. and on stopping things, not on getting legislation through easily. they believed, and i think they rightly believed, that was the best preventive to tiering. and we have a system of checks and balances and the executive and judicial branch, and that makes governing hard and frustrating. but the united states is the greatest nation on earth. it's not perfect, but there's a reason that that's happened, and i think our political system is a large part of the reason. host: next is from pennsylvania.
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dave is a democrat there. good morning. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. caller: i have a question about the just-concluded battle over the two-month extension of the tax cut for social security. i had trouble finding out just what was behind the positions of the two parties. finally, after reading the newspapers, believed that i understand partly what the two positions were. the question was how to pay to this. the white house and democrats wanted to pay for allowing freddie mac and fannie mae add upfront mortgage charges, i guess. the republican wanted to pay for it in what i believe is a good government way.
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whether the bad government way of the white house and democrats. they wanted to way -- one of the things they wanted to do was freeze federal pay, which is long overdue, because they get federal employees, on average, get about twice as much people in the private sector who do comparable work. people in the private sector are productive as opposed to many, if not most government employees. and i've been there in my younger days. i worked in washington twice. but could you comment on this? and on the ethics of the press and the white house. frankly, i think that, you know, one other observation, the white house kept using the figure $50,000 a year for an average worker, and they would save $1,000 by the extension of the tax cut. i think the real figure out here in the real world, when
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you consider the entire country , and men and women, it would be about 30,000. so 2% of that, since the savings would be $600 for this two-month period, the savings would be about $1 hundred. host: david, thanks. guest: well, good job explaining it. as you pointed out, the ad vept of our conversation, the chief difference between the two-month extension and the year-long extension had to do with how to pay for it. not surprisingly. democrats and republicans had a different view on how to do that. i think that the republican plan was the better. but that's not how it played out to the public at large, and that's why the house republicans caved. in terms of the date itself, i think that the $50,000 figure is an average annual income, roughly correct, but i'd have to go back to the census data to see that. host: picking up on our early
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conversation, d.w. from seattle sends us this email, what is going right is we are learning. the only real way to learn is direct experience, and we are getting a lot of that. maybe in the end we will realize we are just humans and start forgiving each other for it. guest: well, that sounds pretty good. i'm a christian, so i'm all for forgiveness and all for learning, too. of course, the issue is whether one learns and you gain with us dosm that's not simply experience that teaches people. it's whether you take the right lessons from the experience, and sometimes we do and sometimes we don't. host: let's jump into presidential politics. we're going to do that by showing you mitt romney's character ad, just recently launched, and talks about his family life. let's take a look. >> you can never predict what kind of tough decisions are going to come in front of a president's desk, but if you can trust they will do the right thing and maybe the hard thing and maybe not the popular thing, and if you really want to know how a person will operate, look at how they've
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lived their life. and i think that's why it's so important to understand the character of a person. to me, that makes a huge difference. maybe some voters, it doesn't. but for me, it makes a huge difference. >> i'm hit mom knee, and i approved this message. host: what is your view of the romney campaign and his candidacy so far? guest: i think the campaign is good. i think it's the most professional team he's assembled of all the republicans in the field, which i think, for whatever it's worth, is a weak field. could have been stronger. but of the people that are in, i think his team is the best. i think he's in a good situation. not a great one. but every time that there's been a candidate rise to challenge him in the polls, of course, i haven't had any elections yet, but the first one is january 3 in iowa. they've gone up, they've been on the hot seat, and then they've gotten burned in the polls, and newt gingrich is the
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latest in that, and he's looked very, very strong two weeks ago, now he's lower. romney, on the other hand, seems very, very steady. if you check the polling data, over the year, he's been between 21% and 26% almost the entire time. he seems to have a very strong core base of support, which no other candidate outside of ron paul seems to have. i think he's a much improved candidate from 2008. i think he's really quite a good debater. i've been very impressed with him in the debates. he is overwhelmingly the choice of the non-tea party, not terribly conservative republican primary voters, but there's a lot of skepticism among conservatives with him, and he just hasn't made that yet. host: who are the earliest primary voters, the conservatives? guest: that's right. iowa, particularly social conservatives. look, i think if you are in the romney campaign right now, you wouldn't need a victory in iowa to make you happy.
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you would just need someone like ron paul to win. and i think their preference would be that newt gingrich would not. so there is not -- so the strongest challenger to romney doesn't win in iowa. he goes to new hampshire and wins and then there's a kind of long war because of propositional representation now. it's not a winner take all in several states. he's got the most money. he's got the best team. i think he believes with some justification that he can win in the long haul. host: two news items related to governor romney, first of all. financial times, bush sr. endorses romney. i think romney is the best choice for us. i like rick perry, but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere. he's not surging forward, that's president bush for you yesterday. also in the new york tabloids this morning, this is "the new york post," a veep peep by christie. new jersey governor hints at talk with mitt romney. new jersey governor chris
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christie isn't finished flirting with a run for national office just yet. he's stubbornly refused republican pleading for him to get in the g.o.p. presidential race, but yesterday he admitted he might answer the call to be mitt romney's vice-presidential running mate. the fact is if governor romney wants to talk to me about that, we'll have a full conversation about that, and then my wife and i will make the decision about what we want to do with our future. christie said that on fox news channel. erie, pennsylvania, laura, republican. good morning. caller: good morning, and happy holidays to all of your listeners. we really appreciate c-span. host: aren't you nice? thanks. caller: we brought up a couple of issues regarding social ills like poverty. the guest was saying how much some of that is improved. i think we haven't addressed the fact that most of those social ills are linked to one particular behavior. that is youth especially engaging in sex when they're not married. that's the number one group
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trapped in poverty. single female-headed households, you have the u.s. census person on, and poverty by far, the group is unmarried. and we need to address the fact that the abstinence education funding in that welfare reform bill that you were talking about i think had the biggest impact on all of those social ills, abortion going down. if the teens don't get pregnant, they're not going to make the choice to kill the baby and abortion. they're not going to have s.t.d.'s. they're not going to have that out of wedlock presidency that we have to pay child care and housing subsidy it is. we pay $100 billion on poverty-related issues every year, and we need to come to the conclusion that social conservatives wanted education because it will -- it will address fiscal responsibilities in the future. there's going to be a lot less money going if we teach our
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youth how to exercise self-control. guest: yeah, look, i agree with a lot of what the caller said. there's no question the ethical and moral basis of individuals will determine whether we're going to have social pathologies or not. if you meet three conditions -- graduate from high school, get married, and don't have a child until after you're married -- your chances of being in poverty are very, very low. she's quite right. if you look at single-parent families, they're the ones that comprise most, i believe most of the people in poverty for obvious reasons. abstinence education, where work should be funded, my former boss and bill bennett and his wife runs a terrific program called best friends, which is directed at exactly that issue, which is abstinence education. he gets ridiculed a lot from some elite circles, but, in fact, it's the right message to
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send. it's the moral message to send, and it's the compassionate message to send. because if you have a child and you're not married, the odds are that you're going to encounter a lot of difficulty in life and so will your child, and there's a lot to be said for the institution of marriage. host: next is a call from atwater, california. this is darryl, a democrat. good morning. caller: good morning. happy holidays to both of and you your guest. guest: good morning. you too. caller: thank you. i want to speak to an issue of when president obama was elected to be president, this was the first time in my entire life that i ever -- had ever placed a vote, ever. and i thought at that moment it was a great day for the country , that just because you had an african-american being voted into the presidency is i could tell my grand kids that this is
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a real possibility. and what i'm really struck by is here you have a man and his family, looks like two days can be a devoted husband and father and has all the characters, character traits that one would like to have as a leader. doesn't have anybody in the office. and here we're already questioning the fact him being able to be re-elected. and what really strikes me and saddens me is here you have a man in the face of everything that he's been under, really been drained of all of its finances and turmoil, and yet, when a man has to go before the nation to show his birth certificate, i really don't even think he has a chance, and that's a reflection on us and our consciousness that it's a
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sad testimony to that. i was wondering if your guest could speak to that. guest: sure. thanks for the call. i think there was an he will again testimony to the election of president obama, and i felt it too, and i think most americans did, the fact that slavery and race has been america's terrible sin, and the fact that we elected an african-american as president assist lot about us, a lot about him, and it was a good moment just in terms of that. and i shared in it. i think you're right. he seems to be, by all accounts, a very good family man and a devoted father, and that's to his credit. that matters as well. thirdly, on the birth sert -- birth certificate issue, i hated that issue. i thought it was silly and stupid. i think it made sense that donald trump, who i think is something of a buffoon, made a
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lot out of it, but most americans i don't think took that too seriously. having said all of those things on behalf of the president, let me just say that i think by almost every objective standard and we can go into the details, i think he's been a failure. if you look at just the economic metrics, the so-called misery index, it's the worst in 28 years, america's credit rating went down for the first time in history. unemployment is the worst since the great depression. we've had 34 straight months of unemployment 8% or higher, and the president said if the stimulus plan would be passed, it would not go above 8%. we've had several years of trillion dollar deficits. the federal spending at the highest level in terms of percentage of gpped since world war ii. housing crisis that is worse than the great depression, and on and on it goes. the president's policies are moral responsible depending on
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how you disaggregate that. but the fact is, if you judge him by his own standards, the things he said he would accomplish, these policies would accomplish, he's failed, and i could go through the litany on the foreign policy side, that if somebody wants to engage in that discussion. look, that matters. people at the end of the day judge a president on his performance in office and they feel his policies are doing. we saw the gallup poll that said 17% are satisfied without the united states doing. that's not all barack obama's fault, but he bears some large part of the responsibility. he should be held accountable. host: there's a news item about the birthers. here is one from the "los angeles times" --
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host: let's move on to another candidate, and that's newt gingrich. you have, on december 7, filed this piece, political fault lines, and it says, one of the most damaging words used against politicians are the ones that are set against them by others. in the case of newt gingrich, the most damaging words against him may be those he has said about himself. let's watch one of his most recent ads. >> is there anything more inspiring than american towns and neighborhoods brightly lit for the holidays? >> we take it as a sign of great optimism.
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it reminds us of the free come that burns bright in the america we love, and a prayer the goodness of our nation will be rewarded with peace and brotherhood. >> from our family to yours, merry christmas and happy new year. i'm calista gingrich. >> and i'm newt gingrich, and i approved this message. host: what do you think? guest: i think it's a nice ad. but i think he's in trouble. i think in terms of the broad view of newt gingrich, i think he has some considerable strengths. he's an intelligent man. he's got an agile mind. he's a good debater, and he has some real accomplishments to his credit when he was speaker of the house. on the downside, the charge he's erratic and chronically undisciplined is true. i don't think he has the temperament that i would want in a president. and it's interesting. one of the issues to me that makes a great deal of difference, as i view newt gingrich, is a lot of the
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people that worked with him and under him and for him over the years do not want him to be president. i put a lot of weight in that. if the people that were colleagues of yours and were in the foxhole with you, for various reasons make the judgment that you're not fit for the office, i put a lot of weight in that. i know people who have worked for speaker gingrich who like him. they don't have a personal animus. he was kind to them. but they just feel like he's not stable enough. i don't mean that he's mentally incompetent incident, but he's a person who is, i think, erratic in what he says and how he governs. his ability to focus on issues and prioritize issues is not real good. and i think that's a problem. i think that that's coming through. he's being hit by a barrage of negative ads in iowa. he doesn't have much money there, and he's been a target of a lot of negative stuff, and it's starting to not only cut, but he's bleeding badly right
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now. host: in relation to the millions of dollars of negative ads spent against mr. gingrich in the early primary states, here's a washington post story. host: we have just about five minutes left. let's go next to michigan. marcus, an independent there, you're on. caller: yes, good morning, c-span. good morning, america, and merry christmas. guest: merry christmas. good morning. caller: yes, i just have a comment to make. what has occurred in the beginning, all this week, our forefathers created a system based on what is known as due process. and when that due process is compromised, then it is breaking the law. so, when this occurred in the beginning of the week, i contacted the department of justice too report a major
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crime being committed toward the american people. i explained to him what has happened, and they told me, yes, we understand, and i said, ok, as an american citizen, i have done my job. it is now time for you to do yours. the white house has been hijacked. the united states government has been taken over by these hostile elite. it's just not republicans. it's both republican and democrat, very wealthy people. they are going against what our forefathers have created. like i said, when due process is compromised, that is breaking the law. host: thank you. do the very wealthy have too much power in the united states? guest: i don't know. they have power. the wealthy always have power. but we have election, and if the public believes that the wealthy or the wealthy support are doing things that are wrong, then there are
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consequences. of course, there are wealthy people who support democrats and republicans, so it's difficult to tell whether they have too much power, fwaws often they're advocating different things. there's no question that these days the wealthy are the target of a lot of hostilities starting from the top with president obama and really his entire party. what i find interesting on this whole issue of wealthy and inequality, which i think is going to be one of the pillars of president obama's re-election campaign. you can find the america that is divided between have's and have's is less now than in 2008. it was a 49-49 split in 2008. today it's about almost 40-60. the issue of income equality and whether we need to focus it, fewer people think we need to do it now than in the past, and there was a quite
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interesting gallup poll in the last couple of weeks that found that when they asked whether the government or business was the greatest threat to america, an almost record number, 64%, said government was the threat, and roughly a quarter of people said big business. that seems sort of counterintuitive, since so much political conversation these days is directed against the wealthy. that's never worked as a political strategy. i don't suspect it will care now. host: want to get some ron paul headlines in here. voters in iowa are saying yes. this is the headline in this morning's financial times. an opinion piece in "the washington times" by a columnist from "the washington times," president of the edmund burke institute, he said the candidate must resist third-party comment.
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mavis, democrat, go ahead, please. caller: good morning. i have a brief comment and one question for your question. now, i believe that the social path allege that's aelectricing the nation and the world is this vaths transfer of top to the top, .01%. it's being taken away from the vast majority of americans. this has been a 35-year plan, and it started with the modern conservative movement, this free market movement of corporate-run government. i a question. what is your definition of fascism? guest: i'll get to that in one second. well, fascism is a term that goes back to mussolini and the italians, and it has to do in part with a government of of oppression towards its people. and it's contrary to founding
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american principles. but in terms of this notion of what she says is a 30-year project of free market, the free marbling actually goes back a lot longer than that. the modern founder is adam smith. i agree with you about corporate cronyism and so forth. i'm sure that's why you're quite upset about the obama administration and so will i understand radio and that kind of thing. it is an enemy of free market capitalism. titian's choosing winners and losers -- politicians choosing winners and losers. people are investing and earning money. that is a good thing. then they start businesses and that creates prosperity. is were prosperous times during the reagan era. you that 60% satisfaction -- you
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had 60% satisfaction. the issue here is not rich and the poor. the issue is what is causing poverty and how you get out of it. we have to focus on economic growth. reactionary liberals are more concerned about penalizing and taxing direct. --tax and the rich. it is not driven by economics. it is how we can penalize those that we think have profited on fairly. you can go to greece if you want to get rid of income and inequality. they are at the point of default and they bring the
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european financial systems down. host: thank you for being with us. we have a list of some recent blog posts. several columns -- host: we will come back and talk about climate change. we will take a break and talk about the one-year anniversary of the start treaty and arms proliferation and what the state of that is and also about north korea and i ran with our next guest. we will be right back.
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>> this weekend, three days of american history tv. visit the congressional cemetery. the university of colorado professor on american prosperity in the 1950's and 1960's. meet the white house chefs. highlights of coverage of the anniversary of the japanese attack on pearl harbor. the history of native american military service. experience american history tv all weekend and every weekend on c-span3. on sunday, michele obama welcomes military families to see the white house holiday decorations.
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alberto gonzalez on his experiences in the george w. bush white house. jack ever muffed talks about his new book -- jack abramoff talks about his new book. the dedication of the martin luther king memorial. the executive chairman on google. see entire schedule at c- span.org. for this year's video competition, we want you to tells what part of the constitution has meaning to you and why? let us know. this is less than a month away. you can win the grand prize of
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$5,000. the competition is open to students grade 5 through 12. >> "washington journal" continues. host: our next guest is rose gottemoeller. this week marked the one-year anniversary of the start treaty and we will talk about how the u.s. and russia are ferrying over the missile question and branched out into other hot spots including north korea and iran. a quick primer on what the start treaty did. guest: yes today was the one- year anniversary of the new start treaty -- yesterday. we had senate democrats and republicans joined together.
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it entered into force and it will take our strategic nuclear forces down to 1450 deployed warheads on each side. there were 12,000 nuclear warheads on each side originally. this will be the lowest number of deployed nuclear warheads since the 1950's. it is a big reduction and a big step forward. it is building a mutual understanding of what is going on inside our nuclear arsenal. host: are both countries on schedule in implementation? guest: absolutely. the russians are up to 17 inspections. we each have the right to do 18 inspections. the treaty year begins in
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february. the russians have one left. host: it is been fascinating to watch. large crowds have been protesting the government in russia. there was a closing speech from navmedveded. he spoke in favor of direct elections of governors -- host: how warily argue in the state department watching it? guest: we're watching it with great interest. we are very hopeful that these kinds of reforms will move
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forward. they are moving in the right direction that will allow the people on the street to of a voice in the ballot box. that is the direction that we think russia should go. host: mr. putin is likely to be back in his post. guest: he was a good supporter of reform. this form the bedrock of russian prosperity today. i do think that there are some good possibilities there. host: when we read about russia, we hear about some of the concerns about road access to their nuclear arsenal. what can you tell the public about their concern at what they might be doing to help ameliorate that and how big an issue it is for the rest of the world?
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guest: that was a huge issue in the 1990's. we drove it in cooperating with the russian federation to build better fences because it was a serious issue. some of those the silly directors would say, i am concerned about a bunch of chechens crushing through our gates and stealing everything i have. people on the ground in russia were concerned about this type of thing. we did a lot of work through that period and i feel like the physical protection of their nuclear weapons and nuclear materials is at a high international standard at this point. host: we would like to open the phone lines about america's policy would deal with other nations on the missile issue and specifically on the first anniversary of the new start treaty between the u.s. and russia.
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the phone numbers are going on the screen. we will remind you about what the new start treaty did. requirements permitting inspections. host: we're waiting for your phone calls. let me move to the issue of the country most in the news and that is north korea. many stories in the paper today. king john un -- kim jong un. the united states and the allies
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-- what can we learn about how this young man might lead to the country? guest: the united states is watching with great interest. we understand that kim jong un has been designated to be the successor and we're watching to see what is going on in north korea. we have been in touch with the south koreans and the japanese and been in touch quite closely with beijing and china to talk about the necessity of sustaining a stable situation and good security and varmint over well on the korean peninsula. our view is that we are in a wait and see mode but we are keen to see the continuation of a secure situation in career and that region. host: what is known about north korea's nuclear program?
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guest: quite a bit. i spoke about the work we did 20 years ago with russia. we're working with north korea to put their fuel rods from nuclear power plants into a safe and secure storage. with that people working in north korea over many years so we know quite a bit. we're concerned the north koreans have cut off access to foreign inspectors. they have pulled the plug on their implementation of the nonproliferation safeguard agreement. we have been concerned for many years about getting them back into full implementation of those nonproliferation obligations and to get back in and work with them again. that is the focus now of our efforts. host: let's get to some telephone calls. charles is on the line, a
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republican. caller: good morning. i have always been a history buff. i couldn't figure out why there was a problem between the united states in russia. look back at history. there was a war with russia and it was always -- the people in europe in far eastern europe and in asia and the russian people were similar. the rosenbergs were the ones that were accused of delivering russia the nuclear secrets. russia still a halt bomber -- a
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bomber, not the b-52, the one before that. my concern is that we never had a war with russia, but it was always concerning. it looks like russia -- can you answer the question? guest: you have a good knowledge of history. it is true the united states and russia have never fought a shooting war. we were close allies during world war ii. the situation that developed during the cold war was a situation where we had the nuclear standoff in place. that standoff still continues. we have a much better relationship now since the breakup of the soviet union. that happened 20 years this coming saturday, christmas eve.
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president gorbachev resigned and president yeltsin to go. that is the formal end of the cold war. that does not mean we been able to disentangle our nuclear relationship. we're trying to work with the russians to have a relationship of assured stability rather than mutual deterrence. that prevented a shooting war, we feel that the nuclear terror is not the kind of in a varmint want to continue with -- is not the kind of environment we want to continue with. host: could do speak about the administration's overall policy to strategic weapons. guest: president obama has been very clear about that. he spoke about prague, lodging
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and initiative to rid the world of nuclear weapons. he said we should seek the freedom of the world without nuclear weapons. he said it will have to be a step by step, phase by phase process. that has been the watchword of his administration, to try to work to rid the world of nuclear weapons. host: hollywood, florida, it is up next. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. happy holidays. i do appreciate everything president has done in the start treaty agreement with russia. it is not only the start treaty but pete two major powers that control the nuclear weapons -- but the two major powers. things can only get better.
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i am a strong supporter of the start a treaty. thank you so much and have a great holiday. guest: i thought her, was a good one. she talked about the start treaty, which controls formally nuclear weapons, but also there's the issue of controlling materials used to make nuclear weapons. the president focused on that problem. there was a nuclear security summit back in april of 2010 in washington. there will be a second one in seoul, south korea, this coming spring to get the country together to look for ways to put the material under lock and key. that is a second part of the president's initiative to deal
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with nuclear weapons. host: we have a tweet from one of our viewers. are we making progress with regard to arms limitation and reduction? guest: i think we are. the name implied we were inspecting and watching -- in the early days, we did not inspect. wheat depended on the satellites -- we depended on the satellites. we're emphasizing production, elimination, and having inspectors on the ground to get rid of nuclear weapons systems. host: the next call is from georgetown, massachusetts. caller: good morning. i have a question.
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we are all brought up in the united states with the understanding that our country is for freedom and fairness around the world, and we try to spread this through democracy and so on. i'm wondering when it comes to compliance and verification for the house of rothschild israel, how do we come up even with here when we basically say that we are not going to acknowledge israel has any nukes at all. we put these tremendous standards on countries in that area. "you guys cannot even research nukes." how do we come clean with this unbelievable countering of ideas? thank you. guest: we take compliance with treaties very seriously.
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we have had a consistent policy across all of our treaties and agreements that we are looking for universal membership. universal membership in the non- proliferation treaty regime, for example. we feel like we're pressing that agenda and trying to insure that all countries are stepping up to the standard of cooperating so that nuclear weapons and those materials do not proliferate and so we have agreements in place called safeguard agreement so we can ensure that countries know what is going on and everybody has an understanding that they are following it responsible policy. that is a great problem with north korea and iran. they are not living up to their obligations with regard to their safeguard agreements. those are the major problems of the world. those are the countries that
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we're focused on. they are the ones that are not playing ball with the international legal system. host: we have more on that from "the new york times" this morning. a possible effort to show strength. ran susceptible to
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the pressure of sanctions? guest: recent years has seen a big ramp up. the obama administration has worked very hard and as got a corporation from countries ranging from the russian federation to china and also our european allies. it has been an effective effort and it has had a profound effect on the iranians. it has stymied their nuclear program, slowed things down. it has had a series of fact overall on the access to the international banking system. without bank, they have trouble with the economy overall. it has had a strong effect on their economy. in terms of their behavior in supporting terrorism around the world -- it has been an
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effective effort overall. we'll have to see what the endgame is. all the options are on the table with regard to the potential for military action. although nobody wants to go there. host: another voice that agrees with this is dennis ross. he gets a half page in "the wall street journal" this morning. he argues to non-military means. next call is from pennsylvania, dave, a democrat. caller: good morning. in these arms negotiations and restrictions throughout the world, are there any restrictions on building new nuclear weapons, or is it
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getting rid of the old nuclear- weapons? we hear of the nuclear race between iran and rusher recently. nobody ever speaks of china. this time have nuclear capability -- does china have any nuclear capability? if you could comment on that. if theet's start treaty covers new nuclear weapons. guest: so many weapons have been built up during the cold war. we each had 12,000 nuclear warheads deployed on the side. we had a lot of work to do to eliminate those weapons. that's been a big emphasis overall. we have turned our attention to try to get a handle on
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controlling the development of new nuclear weapons. a comprehensive test ban treaty to halt the testing of nuclear weapons. we're working hard to get the treaty ratified and enforced. i'm beginning work on trying to begin negotiations on the country. you want to cut off the production of the materials that could be used to build new weapons. that is an astute question. the attention is swinging toward getting a handle on building. we want to prevent building new nuclear weapons in addition to the work we have done to eliminate old ones. china is under the nonproliferation treaty. you have russia, the u.k., france, and china. china is building and deploying nuclear weapons. there arsenal is much smaller than that of russia or the
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united states. we have over 90% of the nuclear- weapons in the world between us. host: we have a tweet. guest: i cannot speak to the u.s. arms industry overall. these are not nuclear capabilities in any way shape or form. they are conventional capabilities. we have a strong cooperative relationship and a partnership relationship throughout that area of the world. the middle east being an important area where we want to insure that stability and security is sustained and maintain. so that has to do with conventional systems overall. nothing to do with nuclear capabilities. host: salt lake city, good
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morning. caller: with regards to the nuclear treaty, widely ratified a treaty, becomes part of the law of the land, which is part of the constitution. folks like china and russia -- everybody in a room to trust china as far as weapons, raise your hand. the chinese will do what ever the chinese want to do. there was a missile launch of the west coast of the united states. i used to work in the ballistic missile industry and i seen enough blissful pistol -- ballistic missile contract to know that it was swept under very quickly. we know that the chinese are
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building new weapons systems. we know there is other countries in the world that are tried to develop nuclear arms. does the president of the united states think he can control the development of these weapons systems around the world? i fear it will take us from a superpower status down toward the third world nation status. the only thing that has kept nuclear arms from being used around the world is the fact we can hit them as hard or harder than they can hit us. as soon as we get to a level where that is no longer the case, that is one nuclear- weapons will be used. anybody that thinks otherwise is naive. the world is now becoming a safer place. it is becoming scare your everyday -- scarier. guest: i think the caller points out an important fact.
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we do not want to do this unilaterally. that would be naive. we want to take a careful approach that will reduce nuclear weapons all over the world and in a way that everybody is taking the same steps. that's the great value of this u.s.-russian arms control deal. we have that inspectors on the ground going into russian nuclear bases and looking at their bases and watch what they are doing with them. we understand when they are eliminating them. they see what we're doing. by having that arrangement where we can watch very closely and they can watch us that we can have the in sturdy. -- insurity. ronald reagan was emphasizing that we have to trust but

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